Purdue associate biology professor Dr. David Sanders paces the room during his April 24 debate with pro-life activist Seth Drayer.

WATCH: Purdue Professor Accuses Pro-Life Group of Child Pornography for Showing Fetus Pics

West Lafayette, IN – It’s not often that a topic as well-worn as abortion finds a new angle, but last week saw one Purdue professor take the pro-abortion argument in a strange new direction.

During  a public debate at Purdue University, Dr. David Sanders, associate professor of biology at Purdue, was in the middle of a rebuttal to abortion activist Seth Drayer‘s opening statement when he unexpectedly leveled child pornography charges at Drayer’s organization, Created Equal.

“He thinks fetuses are children, and he belongs to an organization that likes to show images of fetuses – and that’s something that’s a trademark,” Sanders began. “What would you call the public display of a butt-naked body of a child? I would call that child pornography.”

He expanded on the accusation by questioning whether Created Equal had received consent for the images they use. “Do they have the permission of the fetus? Obviously not. Do they have the permission of the parents to show these images of children, naked children, their naked children?” Sanders pressed.

The line of inquiry produced widespread murmuring in the audience, as several listeners interrupted Dr. Sanders to point out that the question of consent seemed to assume the personhood of the fetus.

Drayer, in a statement to The Liberty Conservative, said that Dr. Sanders was trying to change the subject due to the lack of a cogent argument for why abortion is not a moral injustice.

“The claim that displaying abortion victim images in public is equal to showing child pornography is absurd (and laughable based on the reaction from the crowd gathered for the debate).  Federal law defines child pornography as ‘any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor.’ By all accounts, images of abortion victims do not even come close to meeting that definition,” said Drayer. “The displaying of images of dismembered preborn children in public have long been considered protected political speech by federal courts where displaying child pornography is a criminal act punishable with up to 30 years’ maximum in prison.”

While several circuit courts and numerous lower courts have ruled that public display of abortion pictures are protected by the first amendment, some state high courts have notably disagreed, citing a compelling government interest in shielding children from “exposure to certain images of aborted fetuses and dead bodies.”

Dr. Sanders, who emphasizes that he was invited to the debate under false pretenses and never agreed to recording or livestreaming of the debate, expanded on his point in an interview with The Liberty Conservative.

“My point was that if they see fetuses as children, then the bodies should have the same respect as one would have for a child’s body,” said Dr. Sanders. “I’m using their argument that the fetus is a child, it’s not an argument that I’m making. I’m not making an argument that this is child pornography.”

Dr. Sanders also said the audience was “stacked” and suggested that Created Equal had brought supporters in from other places to attend what he called a disrespectful and unethically organized debate.

The full debate video is below, with the statement in question beginning at the 38 minute mark.

UPDATED 5/2/2017: Dr. Sanders responded to our request for comment, and we have updated the article with his remarks.

Joel Kurtinitis is a columnist for the Des Moines Register, contributing editor for The Liberty Conservative, and operations director for the US Federalist Party.

Joel was a Regional Director for Ron Paul 2012 and served on the State Central Committee of the Republican Party of Iowa. He co-founded Liberty Iowa in the wake of the Paul campaign, and organized the Free DC Project during the government shutdown of 2013.

When not busy setting the virtual world aflame with controversy, Joel is actually an okay guy who enjoys reading, cooking, chess, bluegrass music, and an occasional foray into fiction writing. Joel and his family live in Des Moines, IA.


  1. So wait…. wouldn’t that mean the entire life sciences departments are sharing child porn too?

    Whats next? The agricultural animals department is teaching beastiality?!!

  2. I think what he is trying to say is , lets consider the pro-life side is right and that fetuses are true, then wouldnt that mean ultrasound are intrusive and pornographic.. but, when a baby is born- his or her mother and father, as well as babysitters, nurses and doctors, see the baby naked lots- the baby is not being used in a perverse way- being naked is not pornography, sexual thoughts or actions would make it pornography. Just like a baby breastfeeding is not a sexual thing, because he/she is a baby. And it is an action of love and need, not an action of lust, use, abuse. But he or she is still a human although just a baby. As a matter of fact a lot of children have showers with their parents and grandparents until their like 5. And if I go to a friends house and they are giving their toddlers a bath and I sit visiting with her while she gives them a bath, theirs nothing perverse going on there. So no, having an ultrasound before the child is born does not consist of pornography at all.

  3. In a Constitutional Republic it is our obligation to protect the rights of the minority. . .

    There is no minority smaller than the individual, and no right greater than that of life. . .

    That being said, repealing Roe Vs Wade will not stop abortion. . .
    As laws do not prevent crime. . .
    What would happen is a lot of back alley/unsafe abortions. . .

    Abortion is a reflection of an immoral society. . . Pro-choice individuals see abortion as liberty, the “right to choose.” When in actual reality they are infringing upon the right to life for the fetus.

    Personally the argument of “right to choose” is invalid*
    As we all know how/where babies come from, so the choice was made when you failed to use contriception. Also the argument of a “fetus is not life” is used by the same that would claim E.T. Life if they found a microbial in space dust.

    We cannot stop abortion without first returning to society the respect of life. Which cannot be done via law, but through education and example.

    End the Fed.
    Taxation is Theft.
    Volunteerism > Coercion.

    O and read Rothbard* 🙂

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